Minner said doctoral degrees historically have signified mastery of a discipline, adding to the body of knowledge in a field. With this ultimate academic achievement comes great responsibility, he said. “You are protectors of what is true in the world,” he told the two graduates. “You are caretakers of knowledge.” He challenged them to “cherish and protect the discipline you love.”
Speakers by video were Kathy LaSala, former director of the School of Nursing; and Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle.
In her remarks, Kyle told Compton and Lyons, “You have become a part of Radford’s history. You have led us into the ranks of doctoral universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia and by doing so have helped rewrite the very definition of education at Radford. Along with your colleagues and professors, you have raised the prestige and public profile of Radford University to the advantage of our future students and graduates. For that, we are all deeply grateful.”
Nancy Agee, president and chief executive officer of Carilion Clinic and former member of the Radford University Board of Visitors, was a special guest for the occasion. Agee said it was unimaginable just a few decades ago that “little Radford” could be a doctoral university. She said the nursing school and its first DNP graduates are pioneers, not just in academe but in health care advances for people across the region. “Pioneers have to continue being pioneers,” she told Compton and Lyons. “We can’t wait to see where you’re going.”
Carter introduced Compton and Lyons, briefly describing their medical specialties– Compton in cardiology, Lyons in dermatology. Both are writing articles for submission to peer-reviewed journals, she said, and are pursuing other academic challenges while continuing to provide patient care in the region. Each graduate spoke briefly, thanking family, friends and the nursing school’s faculty and staff.
The audience responded with standing ovations.